2.7 Gets Here in Two Days!
As promised, here is the advance notice that WordPress 2.7 is coming to WordPress.com, and will go live on Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 8pm Eastern Time. That’s 5pm Thursday in California, 1am Friday in London (UTC), 8am Friday in Jakarta, noon on Friday in Sydney…find your time here. Some people like to learn how to use new things by jumping right in and exploring, while others like to read the manual first to get the lay of the land. This post is a written version of the 2.7 interface tour/feature review I have been doing at WordCamps, and will tell you what’s new in the administration interface of WordPress 2.7. There are a lot of new features, so fair warning: this post is pretty long. If you’re more of the jump-in-and-play kind of person, you can skip this post for now, but you might want to remember it’s here just in case you get confused when 2.7 arrives at WordPress.com in two days.
The first thing you’ll notice when you’ve logged in is that the navigation has moved and changed. Now located on the left side on the screen, the new navigation menu is meant to be more intuitive and flexible as well as saving you a few steps here and there.
Section Labels: Instead of all your content objects (posts, pages, links, etc.) being grouped under Write and Manage, they get their own top-level sections, making it easier to go directly to the screens you need. Clicking on a section label will take you to the first screen in that section (just as it used to do in 2.6).
Expand/Collapse Sections: You can see which screens are in each each section by clicking on the arrow that appears when you hover over the menu. Click the arrow again to close the section. If you leave a section open, your browser will remember your setup and leave it that way until you close it. It might be helpful for you to take a moment when you first log in to the new interface and click each section open and closed, so you can see how things are organized.
Minimize Menu Column: You can also minimize the menu column to increase your working space, which can be especially useful if your computer has a a small screen or low resolution. In the menu column, you’ll see that the sections are grouped, with gray separator lines between them that have small arrows-in-circles on the end. Clicking on these arrows-in-circles will minimize the menu to a thin column of icons. Hovering over these icons when the menu is minimized will display pop-up menus, so even with the menu minimized, you are still only one click away from most screens. Clicking on an icon when the menu is minimized will take you to the first screen in that section, just as the text labels would do if the menu were open.
Shortcuts: In the upper right corner of your screen, there’s a new button/menu of shortcuts. You can click the button to start a new post, or you can hover over the arrow to reveal other screens accessible from this menu. Click to go to your Drafts, start a new page, upload media files, or manage your comments.
There are several new ways to customize the appearance of your administration screens. These selections, like the menu, will be remembered by your browser, so you only need to set up your ideal screen once on any given browser.
Drag and Drop: You can rearrange the modules on the Dashboard and Add New Post screens to your liking using drag and drop. Click on the title bar of a module and drag it to the location you prefer.
Open/Close: You can minimize modules on the Dashboard and Add New Post screens by clicking on the title bar. Clicking again will re-open the module.
Hide/Show: On a number of screens, you will see a Screen Options tab in the upper right. Clicking this tab reveals a layer that lists screen elements and allows you to decide which elements to show on screen using checkbox controls. If you hide a module or column using the Screen Options, you can use the same method to return the element to the screen.
Dashboard (Used to be tab above blog title)
There are two entirely new Dashboard modules, and one that has new features.
QuickPress: QuickPress, by default in the upper right portion of the screen, is a mini-post editor that allows instant content creation from the Dashboard. You can include a title, body text, media files, and tags in the post, and have the option of saving it as a draft or publishing immediately. For additional options such as adding categories or setting a future publish date, you should use the Add New Post screen.
Drafts: This module is just below the QuickPress module by default and displays links to your most recent drafts, allowing one-click access from the Dashboard. If you create drafts using QuickPress, they will appear in the Recent Drafts module immediately.
Recent Comments: The Recent Comments module, located in the left column by default, now includes comment moderation options so you can moderate recent comments from the Dashboard. You can Approve/Unapprove, Mark as Spam, Delete, or Reply to a Comment within the module itself, while the Edit link takes you to the screen for that comment for additional options.
Posts: Edit (Used to be Manage > Posts)
Show/Hide Columns: You can use the Screen Options tab to hide columns in the table that you don’t want to see. For example, don’t use tags on your posts? Hide the column and give yourself more room.
All Posts Order: Drafts are now shown in the All Posts view inline chronologically with published posts, rather than being grouped at the end. When a post does has not been published, it will appear in the All Posts list based on the time it was last modified. This means that if you edit a draft and save the changes, it will move to the top of the list.
List/Excerpt Views: To the left of the pagination links, icons allow you to switch between list view (Title and metadata only) and excerpt view (shows the first paragraph or so of post text).
Action Links: Action links are now displayed below the post title. Hovering over the row for a post will display links to actions such as Edit, Quick Edit, Delete, View/Preview.
Quick Edit: Quick Edit will reveal a layer that allows you to edit post metadata without leaving the screen. Make sure to click save in the lower right of the layer to submit the edits. Click cancel in the lower left if you change your mind.
Batch Edit: Batch editing functionality now exists, allowing you to do things like add categories, change author or publish status, etc. to multiple posts at one time. Use the checkboxes in the left column to select the posts you want to edit this way, select Edit from the Actions drop-down menu at the top of the column, and click the Apply button next to the menu. A layer will appear that allows you to edit the metadata. If you want to remove a post from the batch, click on the small X to the left of the title. Don’t worry, this doesn’t delete the post, just removes it from the batch edit.
Reduced Scrolling: On this screen and others that use the table format, you’ll see that the column headers, action menu and pagination is now displayed at the bottom of the table as well, so you no longer have to scroll up to the top of the screen to access these links and information.
Posts: Add New (Used to be Write > Post)
Customization: Modules on this screen may be moved around to your liking, with the exception of the title and post editor. You can put frequently used items such as tags or categories in the right column to reduce scrolling, or you can drag all modules to the main column and create a wide layout. Modules may also be opened or closed by clicking on the bar at the top of the module, or hidden using the Screen Options tab.
Comments/Trackbacks: Checkboxes for allowing comments and/or pingbacks/trackbacks on a post are now both in the new Discussion module. When there are comments on a post, they will appear in this module, and may be moderated from within the module as well. Sending Trackbacks has its own module for including URLs.
Visibility: Located in the Publish module, the Visibility segment allows you to make a post password-protected, private, public, or public and sticky. Click Edit next to your current status to access these options. Sticky posts are only available when status is set to Public.
Publish Buttons: Button text in the Publish module has been amended to make actions more clear. If you change the publish time of a post to a future date (click Edit next to Publish Immediately to access this function, the same as in 2.6), the Publish button will change to Schedule, so it’s clear that you are merely scheduling the post, not publishing it now. Posts that have already been published will show an Update button. Buttons for saving a draft and for publishing have been placed at opposite ends of the module, to help prevent accidental publication.
Posts: Tags (Used to be Manage > Tags)
Tag management has been revised to combine on a single screen adding a new tag and managing existing tags. This should prevent inadvertent creation of duplicate or highly similar tags, by showing existing tags on the same screen. A cloud of popular tags also gives a visual indication of which tags are being used the most. Clicking on one of these tags will allow you to edit the tag.
Posts: Categories (Used to be Manage > Categories)
This screen, like tags, combines creating, viewing and editing categories into one screen.
Media: Library (Used to be Manage > Media Library)
Unattached Files: There is now a filter for Unattached files near the filters for Images, Audio, Video, and Documents. Files that are unattached have an “Attach” action link that allows you to add that file to an existing post or page. When you click on Attach, a pop-up will appear allowing you to enter a search term. The search results will appear in the space below, from which you can pick the post or page to which you want to attach your file.
Media: Add New (This is a new screen)
You can now upload files to your blog without having to create a post first. The upload process works the same it does when launched from a post screen, but now you can go directly to adding media to your library if you want to upload files now to use later. You can use either the Flash uploader or the browser uploader, just as when you upload from the post screen.
Links: Edit (Used to be Manage > Links)
Action links appear on hover below the link name, and columns can be hidden using Screen Options tab.
Links: Add New (Used to be Write > Link)
Name, Web Address, and Description modules have fixed positions, but other modules on this screen may be moved using drag and drop, opened or closed by clicking on the module title bar, or hidden using the Screen Options tab.
Links: Link Categories (Used to be Manage > Link Categories)
The table showing existing link categories and the form to create new ones are side by side for easier link category management.
Pages: Edit (Used to be Manage > Pages)
Like other screens of this type, on this screen action links are show below the page titles when hovering over the row. Quick Edit and Batch Editing are enabled on this screen.
Pages: Add New (Used to be Write > Page)
As on the Add New Post screen, title and text editor are in fixed positions, but all other modules may be moved, collapsed and/or hidden to suit your tastes.
Comments (Used to be Comments)
This screen has a new layout, and action links appear on hover as with other table-based screens. “Awaiting Moderation” has changed to “Pending,” but the meaning is the same.
Filter: Above the comment table, there is a dropdown menu that says “All Comment Types.” This menu allows you to filter the display to show only comments, only pingbacks/trackbacks, or all of the above.
Actions: You can edit comment text using Quick Edit, the Edit link, or by double-clicking on the comment text itself. You can now reply to a comment from this screen. Click the reply link and a layer will appear, in which you can type your reply.
In Response To: The post title links to the editing screen for that post. The number of comments in parenthesis filters the current screen to show only comments on that post.
Comment Permalink: Above comment text, the timestamp is shown and acts as a permalink to the live comment.
Keyboard Shortcuts: You can moderate comments using keyboard shortcuts if you’ve enabled this feature in your profile. Use J to go down and K to go up the rows, and use A to approve, S to mark as spam, D to delete, E to edit, R to reply.
Note: Threaded comments and paging comments are new features in 2.7, but do not affect this screen, just your public blog. Settings for these features can be found in Settings: Discussion.
Appearance: Themes (Used to be Design > Themes)
Appearance: Widgets (Used to be Design > Widgets)
Appearance: CSS Editor (Used to be Design > Edit CSS)
Users: Authors & Users (Used to be Users > Authors & Users)
No change except that the form to add a new user is now on its own screen.
Users: Add New (Used to be Users > Authors & Users, at the bottom)
This function has its own screen now so that it’s easier to add users to your blog.
Users: Your Profile (Used to be Users > Your Profile)
As always, your profile is also accessible from your linked name at very top right of the screen (Where WordPress says Howdy to you).
Admin Color Scheme: The color schemes have changed with 2.7, and each color scheme has its own icon set, designed by the winners of our icon design contest. Gray, the default color scheme, includes icons by Ben Dunkle. Blue, the alternate color scheme, includes icons by Verena Segert.
Tools: Tools (This is a new screen)
This screen serves as a place for access to tools that will improve your blogging experience but that you don’t need to access in the administration panel on a regular basis, usually just requiring an initial setup. Currently, this screen includes Turbo/support for Google Gears, and Press This.
Tools: Import (Used to be Manage > Import)
Tools: Export (Used to be Manage > Export)
Settings: Discussion (Used to be Settings > Discussion)
This screen has some new settings for comment threading and pagination, in the second group of items labeled “Other Comment Settings.” Use the checkboxes and drop-down menus to enable comment threading and/or pagination if you wish. Note: not all themes have been updated to support comment threading or paging, so these options are turned off by default.
Settings: Media (This is a new screen)
This screen allows you to set default media settings such as image sizes and crop settings.
Believe it or not, I’m finally out of new features! I hope this screen-by-screen inventory of the changes coming with 2.7 has been helpful, and that you’re excited to start using WordPress 2.7 on Thursday.